Strike the right balance.
Credit cards were designed for convenience but can be misused very easily. However, if used well, a credit card often does more good than harm. Credit cards help you build a credit history that allows you to qualify for loans at favourable rates and cheaper insurance. You also get exclusive privileges depending on your card and a bonanza on redeeming your reward points.
If you’re getting a credit card or are wondering whether you should sever ties with your current one, here are some points that will help you decide.
Choose the Right Card
Credit cards are never vanilla. Every card is created with a particular purpose in mind. If you choose the right card, you can be greatly rewarded. On the contrary, picking the wrong card can lead to you losing out on benefits that don’t suit you.
Choose the Right Card
- Choose a co-branded card if you regularly use a particular brand
- Remember to redeem the reward points that you accrue
- Change your card if your needs change drastically
- If you’re not interested in any particular reward, choose a cashback card
The temptation to overspend is common among credit card users. As a consequence of overspending, your credit score would plummet leading to high-interest rates on loans and insurances. You will also accumulate higher debt as a result of the interest applied to your outstanding credit.
- Check your limit/balance on a regular basis
- Consider your credit balance and not your credit limit
- Use apps and online banking to keep track of your spending
- Use your card for only things you would have purchased anyway
Build a High Credit Score
A credit score is a metric for a bank to discern whether you have the propensity to repay your borrowed funds on time. In other words, the higher your credit score, the better your chances of getting approvals for loans, higher credit limits, cheaper insurance. A credit score of 750 and above is considered good.
- Request your bank to increase your credit limit every 3-6 months by submitting your income documents (Form 16, IT returns, and latest salary slips)
- Pay your monthly bill in full
- Open a joint account with someone possessing a good credit history
- Lower your credit utilisation ratio by spending not more than 30% of your credit limit
Know What to Do to Prevent Fraud
Nothing hurts more than seeing your hard-earned money get stolen due to negligence. You must always be on guard to keep yourself from scammers who may try to trick you into giving your card details.
- Set alerts on your phone to monitor the transactions on your card
- Store your card details safely so that you can block your card immediately after the theft
- Set strong passwords
- Shred anything with your credit card number on it
- Don’t reveal your credit card information to anyone
Credit cards, though initially might seem scary, can prove to be the window to great experiences. If you are careful and have figured out the sweet spot to balance all the factors in, these cards will prove to be more than just useful in the long run.